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Mission focused. Hospital committed to quality healthcare in face of furlough

Email   Print   Share By Col. Patricia Darnauer, CRDAMC Commander
July 18, 2013 | Editorial
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Col. Patricia Darnauer CRDAMC Commander
Unpaid furlough of our valued civilian workforce began last Monday and we, at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, are already feeling the impact, as you probably know. Across the Department of Defense, most civilians are required to take one furlough day each week until Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The leaders, providers and the entire CRDAMC staff understand that, despite the furlough, we remain charged with providing the superior healthcare that you – our Soldiers, Families and veterans – deserve and expect. We will remain positive and focused on meeting your needs during every patient encounter.

I want to assure all of our beneficiaries that high-quality healthcare is our absolute priority. We recently received a full three-year accreditation from the national inspection agency, the Joint Commission, and we will continue to sustain our stringent standards of care and ensure direct patient care is minimally impacted by sequestration and mandatory furlough. CRDAMC has previously endured and excelled during tough times, and we will not allow this situation to be any different.

Please remember there are alternate resources available to you that can facilitate care during these times of furlough. The CRDAMC Nurse Advice Line (553-3695), allows you to speak one-on-one with a registered nurse to receive guidance on care that can be given at home and/or when to seek care at a medical facility. TRICARE online at allows you secure access to beneficiary appointments, prescriptions and personal health data. I strongly encourage your enrollment in secure messaging as an additional option to increase communication with your provider.

You can contact your clinic to register at It will also save trips to your clinic, which is a tremendous benefit for those who have very busy schedules.

You may also want to consider alternative pharmacy options to reduce or eliminate your wait for prescriptions. If you take prescription medications for long-term, ongoing conditions, the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy, or TMOP, and Express Scripts can help you save both time and money. With TMOP, you can order up to a 90-day supply of your medication for less than the co-payment of a 30-day supply at a retail pharmacy. Stop by any of the Darnall pharmacy locations to pick up mail order forms, or call toll-free 877-363-1303. Our Refill Pharmacy, co-located with the Clear Creek Exchange, enables you to combine taking care of medical needs with routine shopping. The Refill Pharmacy hours have not been reduced during the furlough period.

If you need a prescription right away and are unable to use one of Darnall’s pharmacies, visit one of the civilian pharmacies that are approved by TRICARE-otherwise known as retail network pharmacies.

Through the retail network pharmacies, TRICARE beneficiaries can obtain up to a 30-day supply of most prescription medications for a small copay. To find out if a local civilian pharmacy is part of the TRICARE retail network, call 800-444-5445.

Despite the furlough, the hospital will remain open every day for emergency services, inpatient care and labor and delivery services. We will adhere to our TRICARE access standards, and any care that cannot be provided within CRDAMC will be referred to the network.

Additionally, I ask for your continued support and patience as we move forward in the face of these challenges. If you have specific questions about impacted services, please talk to your healthcare provider, or contact our Patient Advocate Office at 288-8157/8168 or via email at You may also contact the 24/7 Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline at 800-984-8523, DSN 421-3700 with any issues or concerns related to access or quality of care.

I also encourage you to visit our website at where you can find up-to-date information on affected services throughout the furlough period.

Everyone will be affected by these changes, but I pledge that you will continue to receive fair, honest and direct conversation from me as we move forward.
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